Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Back to School Icebreaker for Middle and High School

It's that time of year again to begin planning for back to school. Icebreakers for the first day are hard to find for middle and high schoolers, so I always come back to the tried-and-true Bingo game.

The idea of an ice breaker is to get students to interact, start conversations, and find things they have in common with each other. This activity does that better than any other that I've tried.

You will need eight or nine different Bingo cards, the squares filled in with different things your students may have done or hobbies they have, favorites, characteristics, or anything else unique that you think is interesting. I like to use things they might have done over the summer: jobs, vacations, etc. There are many blank Bingo card templates you can download for free. Just do a search for "Bingo template" and you'll find some. Fill in the squares on the first card, then keep mixing them up and adding and subtracting items for the remaining seven or eight cards. I'll be honest, it's a lot of work, but you can re-use them every year.

To play, mix up the cards and pass out one to each student. On "go," they have to find someone who matches the item in the square, and write his or her name on the card.

Students can only use the same person for two squares, then they have to move on to someone else. When someone gets a Bingo (diagonal, horizontal, or vertical row all marked off) they shout out "Bingo!" In a regular game, that would end it, but I like to give out treats for five or six Bingos to encourage the conversations to go on.

If you don't want to make your own cards, I have some in my store that have been successful with multiple classes. You can find them here

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